Doctors performing abortions in Kansas would have to give women more information about themselves at least 24 hours before an abortion under a proposed House bill.
The information would include the year physicians got their medical degree, along with employment information, if disciplinary action had been taken against them, whether they have malpractice insurance and whether they are a Kansas resident.
If the bill is passed, all of that information would need to be printed out, in black ink, in 12-point Times New Roman font, and given to the woman seeking the abortion.
Rep. Melissa Rooker, a Fairway Republican, said during a hearing on the bill Tuesday morning that it looks “punitive.”
“It looks like it is harassing a particular set of providers,” Rooker said.
Some lawmakers voiced concerns during the hearing that doctors aren’t required to provide similar information for other procedures.
Under current law, patients have to be given the name of the doctor who will do the abortion, a description of the abortion method and risks related to the procedure. The information is required, in writing, 24 hours before the procedure.
“It’s reasonable for a woman to be able to know who exactly will be doing the procedure,” said Rep. Susan Humphries, a Wichita Republican.
Rep. Trevor Jacobs, a Republican from Fort Scott, said he didn’t see why the new bill could be seen as unreasonable or unjust.
He said he had gone to Google for information on abortions and had not found the details required under the bill.
“This wouldn’t be a burden by any means,” Jacobs said.
Kansans for Life and the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas testified in favor of the bill during Tuesday morning’s hearing.
The groups emphasized that they felt the bill was a needed update and made more information “readily available” for people who want to get an abortion in Kansas.
“This stuff is (easy) data entry for the clinic,” said Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life’s legislative director.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union both opposed the bill.
“This is a solution looking for a problem,” said Robert Eye, legal counsel for the Trust Women Foundation and the South Wind Women’s Center.
Elise Higgins, with Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, told lawmakers the bill does nothing to improve the lives of Kansas women and undermines confidence in physicians.
But Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican, said the bill was a transparency issue.
“I struggle with, again, what are you hiding and why would you not make it readily available?” Whitmer asked people opposing the bill before talking about information that he could not find online about abortions.
Higgins’ response: “I believe the question there is, what are we hiding, and the answer is nothing.”
A similar bill has already passed a Senate committee, but has yet to be voted on by the full chamber.